Tagged with sheep

Kidland on the Borders

Yet another excerpt from the fascinating ‘Highways & Byways in Northumbria’ Belonging to the monastery of Newminster in the Middle Ages here is a wild mountain country reaching to the Borders. It is known as Kidland, where a few shepherds tend thousands of sheep. Part of it was granted to the monastery in 1181 by … Continue reading

Cotswold Wool Trade

Another snippet from Highways and Byways of Oxford and the Cotswolds: ‘Before the Norman Conquest it is not likely that sheep-farming on any scale was carried on. the few fleeces raised on each manor would suffice to supply the rough cloth or frieze that formed the country dress of the lord and his dependents. The … Continue reading

Starlings and Shepherds

Here’s another snippet from W H Hudson’s A Shepherd’s Life: The commonest bird [on Salisbury Plain} the one that vastly outnumbers al the others .. is the starling. It was Caleb Bawcombe’s favourite bird, and I believe it is regarded with peculiar affection by all shepherds o the downs on account of its constant association with … Continue reading

Animals of the Caribbean

The Caribbean Islands, especially the smaller ones, had few animals when Europeans arrived, as few could cross the water. Trinidad had the best range, including sloth , anteater, tiger cat, raccoon, small deer. Other isles their only mammals apart from bats, rodents included the large, tasty hutia, similar to a of rabbit, and 1 frog … Continue reading

Sheep and English History

Sheep have played a huge role in the history of England. For centuries, wool and woollen cloth were the major exports, in fact, they played a large but largely overlooked role in the Roman and Norman invasions. Why else would such people go to so much trouble over these rocky backward islands? English wool was … Continue reading

Walking to the Fair

In the past, animals were driven vast distances to be sold at the annual fair, many of whom specialised in a particular beast, but many were destined to feed the swarming masses of London, from as far afield as Scotland and Wales. They had to avoid the main routes, especially from the 1730s when turnpikes … Continue reading

Water Meadows

Water Meadows

Wherever you see the term ‘mead’ in a location, it means it was the former site of a meadow or  floodplain, which should have been a problem, but it actually represented a very valuable resource for farmers in low lying areas. In March each year  sheep farmers usually had a crisis. Their sheep were pregnant … Continue reading